I recently stopped by a friend’s house for a cup of coffee. She’s a mom, like me, and a fantastic cook… not like me.
She always has stacks of magazines around like Real Simple and Martha Stewart Living, and she loves to try out new recipes that are delicious and her kids will actually eat.
The morning I stopped by, she offered me a little something to go with my coffee.
“What is it?” I asked.
“It’s a pumpkin bread pudding,” she replied. I scowled. I’m neither a big pumpkin fan nor a lover of bread pudding, but I didn’t want to be rude so I tried it.
“Wow!! This is amazing,” I exclaimed, practically licking my plate. “Did you get this recipe from one of those magazines?” I nodded to the pile of Martha Stewart mags.
“No,” she said. I got it from a cooking blog.”
She showed me the blog online. The author wasn’t anyone I’d ever heard of. She did not have a degree in culinary arts, did not have any history of employment at a restaurant, and did not have Puck, Batali or Ramsay for a last name. She was just a blogger, who loved to cook, and was damn good at it.
So why am I recounting this story? Not to pile on the “How Dare Martha Stewart Trash Talk Bloggers” bandwagon, but seriously, how dare Martha Stewart trash talk bloggers? In case you missed it, here’s what she said in a recent interview with Bloomberg TV:
“Who are these bloggers? They’re not trained editors and writers at Vogue magazine. I mean, there are bloggers writing recipes that aren’t tested, that aren’t necessarily very good or are copies of everything that really good editors have created and done. Bloggers create kind of a popularity. But they are not the experts and we have to understand that.”
Forgetting the fact that in helping to promote the Martha Stewart empire, the blogger community has been an integral part of Martha Stewart’s personal success, I believe the whole concept of what makes one an expert is the greater issue since Martha Stewart believes she is one and believes bloggers are not.
Martha learned how to cook and sew from her mother. She began college with the intention of majoring in Chemistry, switched to Art, and then European History, and finally Architectural History. After college, she started a catering business from her basement. You pretty much know what happened from there.
Many of my blogger friends learned how to cook and sew from their mothers. Many studied subjects other than cooking at college. Some have started their own small food-related businesses from home, but many merely cooked extensively for the love of it to share with their friends and family. Have any of them reached the star status of Martha Stewart. No. Have any of them gone to prison? No. (OK, I admit that was a cheap shot). But my point is, Martha and my blogger friends all come from the same humble beginnings and became experts at what they do not because they have been paid millions, gotten huge brand endorsements, or had a company go public on the New York Stock Exchange.
They became experts because they worked to perfect their craft and then shared it with other people who wanted to learn how to do the same thing.
There was a time when the only way to learn how to cook was from your mother, or a friend, or possibly from a pretty well-known book called, The Joy of Cooking, the premiere cooking tome for generations. The Joy of Cooking is not a gourmet cookbook. It is a collection of recipes that had been perfected in the kitchen of Irma S. Rombauer, a homemaker in Missouri, and illustrated by her daughter. Irma created some of the recipes herself. Others were shared with her by friends. Some had been passed down to her through family. None of the creators of the recipes were so-called experts. They were just real people who loved to cook and understood that cooking itself is a way of expressing love.
I don’t think all bloggers are experts and I don’t think all experts are published authors and TV personalities. But I do think my friend, is an amazing cook.
The proof is in the pudding.
©2013, Beckerman. All rights reserved.
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